The great outdoors doesn’t just offer a change of scenery; it opens the door to a healthier, more balanced you. Camping is one of our favorite ways to get outdoors, and beyond the tents and campfires, camping can be a profoundly rejuvenatingexperience for the mind, body, and soul.
There’s a transformative power in disconnecting from the chaos of everyday life to connect with the natural world. The leaves rustling in the wind, the campfire flickering against the twilight, and even the challenges you overcome in the wild—these experiences aren’t just enjoyable, they’re therapeutic.
Not at all camping trips can have this transformative power, especially if you aren’t properly prepared. But there are some steps you can take that will elevate a regular camping trip to a full-blown wellness retreat, so let’s explore seven hacks for a successful adventure in the outdoors.
The perfect campsite is more than a place to sleep, it sets the stage for your entire wellness journey. So take the time to choose wisely, as this can profoundly affect not only your comfort but also your mental and emotional well-being.
Think about areas that offer a blend of water, trees, and open spaces. Or pick whatever kind of terrain warms your soul – are you naturally drawn to forests, mountains, beaches, plains, or a combination of those? Water bodies like lakes or rivers have a calming effect, while forests offer a bounty of sensory experiences, and open fields give you room to breathe.
Websites like The Dyrt, AllTrails, and Gaia GPS can be excellent resources for finding the perfect spot. If you want to find your ideal National Park, the National Park Service also offers a guide to the parks’ terrains across the country.
Glacier National Park is one of our favorites.
Once you’ve set up camp, it’s time to get moving. Whether it’s a brisk hike, a swim in the lake, or even a series of yoga poses on a mountain overlook, physical activity is a cornerstone of wellness.
The beauty here is that exercise becomes less about burning calories and more about connecting with your environment. The endorphins that flood your body post-exertion serve as a natural mood booster, aligning body and mind in a way that is completely harmonious.
One of our favorite outdoor activities is hiking – it’s just hard to beat walking through nature with a smile on your face and a little burn in the quads. If you want to level up the adventure, end your hike with a cold plunge in a river and you’ll feel like you can conquer the world.
Summer hiking in the Appalachian Mountains.
Nature itself can be a guide to mindfulness, so you should dedicate some time to connect deeply with your surroundings. By fully engaging your senses, you practice mindfulness—a proven stress reducer.
When you’re mindful, even simple things like savoring your morning coffee beside the campfire can become acts of meditation. It could also be a quiet walk focusing on the texture of the path beneath your feet, the scent of the foliage around you, or the symphony of wildlife.
This idea of mindfulness in nature isn’t new – it started in Japan in the 1980s. Perhaps you have heard the term forest bathing? It’s the act of being calm and quiet amongst trees while you observe the nature around you.
Morning coffee with a beautiful view.
Your body is your vehicle for this outdoor adventure, so fuel it right. Sure, s’mores and hot dogs are camping classics, but consider adding some nutrient-dense foods to your menu.
Prepare simple yet nutritious meals like grilled fish, quinoa salads, or vegetable skewers. Good nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated, especially with single-burner camp stoves and hot campfires that make cooking a breeze.What you consume directly impacts your energy and mood, so choose wisely.
Pro tip: prepare your food as much as possible before you go camping, that way you have less to worry about once you’re at the campground. For example, we love to chop all our veggies beforehand.
Cooking healthy meals over the campfire.
You’d be surprised how well you can sleep when lulled by the sounds of nature. Quality sleep enhances any wellness regime, and camping offers some of the most peaceful nights you can experience.
We fully believe that your sleeping setup is one of the most important pieces of your camping gear, and it becomes even more essential on a wellness camping retreat. It’s more than just about having a comfortable sleeping bag and pad, although those are some of the more basic ingredients.
Make sure you buy high-quality gear that will keep you warm and comfortable. Skimping on quality will lead to sleepless nights that are more frustrating than they are re-energizing. This means having comfortable pajamas, a nice tent, a high-quality sleeping pad or mattress, and a warm sleeping bag.
An extra layer of warmth, like a battery-powered heated blanket, can make a world of difference on chilly nights. It’s a luxury that doesn’t weigh you down much and it can elevate your sleep to a restorative experience you’d hardly associate with camping.
Sleeping in a tent can be remarkably rejuvenating.
Our lives are permeated by digital technology, but camping offers an excellent opportunity to step away from screens and engage in a much-needed digital detox. Pre-download maps or trail guides if you need to and then switch your devices to airplane mode—or better yet, turn them off altogether. You’ll find your attention span lengthening, your stress dissipating, and your ability to engage with the world around you intensifying.
If you have trouble keeping yourself accountable and find that you’re reaching for your phone constantly, purposely pick somewhere to camp that doesn’t have any cell phone service. Not only does this take away the temptation, but it also gives you an excuse to not talk to anyone who may try to reach you during your hiatus.
Remote campsites like this one won’t have any cell phone service.
Don’t underestimate the therapeutic power of jotting down your thoughts, sketches, or musings while in nature. Whether it’s a notepad or a dedicated travel journal, the act of writing helps to process your experiences and thoughts.
Plus, it brings an emotional clarity that is hard to achieve in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And it doesn’t have to be just writing; you can draw, paint, or even compose a song—whatever allows you to express yourself creatively and contributes to your sense of well-being.
Journaling in nature is healing.
Camping is more than an outdoor activity; it’s a holistic wellness experience. From choosing the perfect site and engaging in physical activities to mindfulness practices and quality nutrition, every element plays a role in your well-being.
And let’s not forget the small comforts that amplify the experience: a good night’s sleep, facilitated by elements like battery-powered heated blankets, is as much a part of this wellness equation as any yoga pose or meditation session.
So, when you pack your gear for your next camping adventure, remember to pack for your body, mind, and soul. You’re not just stepping into the wilderness; you’re stepping into a more balanced, revitalized version of yourself.